ugly-teeth.jpgBy Barbara Kessler

Once we worried about razor blades that some crazy person might have slipped into an apple. But now that Halloween is all wrapped up, packaged and mass produced, the dastardly tricks come in batches of 43,000.

That’s how many of the “Ugly Teeth” party favors the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates were sold over the past year. The imported white, black and orange teeth (with brown gums), intended as a costume accessory or party favor, turned out to be scarier than anyone realized. They were tainted with lead, up to 100 times the acceptable levels, and headed straight for the mouths of our babes.

The CPSC swooped in with a warning about Ugly Teeth, which were imported from you guessed it, China, sold in packages of eight by Amscan Inc. of Elmsford N.Y., and covered with paint that “contains excessive levels of lead.” But unfortunately the warning came out on Halloween Day, too late for many trick-or-treaters to be informed before scooping up their contaminated booty. No word yet on the actual toxic bite of these little chompers; the CPSC reports no injuries, but then lead poisoning typically is a cumulative health hazard that impairs cognitive function, behavior and growth in children over time.

The CPSC’s statement contained the catch-all warning to “stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed” and return them to the store for a refund. For more info contact Amscan Inc. at 800-335-7585 or check their website. For its part, Amscan said it has tested the Ugly Teeth previously and found them to be safe.